When techies try to think of the future of gesture-based computing, they often discuss 2002’s Minority Report, a sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise. In the flick, Cruise controlled a huge transparent display by moving his hands and arms like an orchestra conductor. Now San Francisco-based Leap is taking gesture control seriously, with a US$69.99 product that’s expected to ship later this year.
The Leap is a small aluminum and black plastic device that looks like it fell off of an iMac. Plug the Leap into a USB port on your Mac, load special software (Leap Motion), and then wave your arm to calibrate the device. Now you have control of about 8 cubic feet of space, with each motion of your hands or fingers precisely tracked to within 1/100th of a millimeter.
Leap is looking to developers to create software to truly take advantage of the precise control provided by the device. As such, they’ve created a developer kit that’s available to registered developers for free, including the SDK and a Leap.
Examples of apps are shown in the video below, but it’s apparent that the company has resolved one of the issues of moving gesture-based computing to the “big screen” — getting rid of all of those fingerprints on your screen by making sure your fingers never touch the screen. The company says it is working with “many of the world’s largest companies,” so there’s a hope that we’ll see this technology built into future Apple products soon.